The Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Startups & Small Businesses

September 14, 2022

Interested in growing your startup or small business through authentic, real-time conversations with your audience? Consider making Twitter part of your social media strategy.

Twitter is a social platform that’s driven primarily by short-form content and real-time engagement. Its primary appeal is the ongoing discourse among its users. 

Businesses that are interested in maintaining an informal, laid-back dialogue with their customers tend to perform well on Twitter. 

Twitter’s most active users spend time communicating about what’s happening in the moment from one day to the next. That opens you up to many opportunities for brand-relevant conversations. 

As a startup or small business, growing a Twitter following can help you not only start some excellent conversations, but also get more eyes on your brand. Let’s take a look at how to leverage Twitter to grow your online presence. 

Why Twitter Marketing for Small Businesses is Crucial 

Twitter marketing for small businesses is crucial if you want to stay relevant and make immediate connections with your audience.  

Ranked by Statista as the fifteenth most popular social media platform, Twitter isn’t as widely used as many other platforms. Still, it’s a great place for small businesses to spend time. 

Brands on Twitter still have great success sharing relevant, timely content–especially brands that participate in trending topics or are able to offer interesting takes on current events and social dialogue.  

How to Set Up Your Twitter Profile 

If you haven’t already set up your brand’s Twitter profile, it’s time to go ahead and get started. You’ll want to sign up for a free Twitter account using your brand’s handle.

First, open a new browser window and navigate to Twitter. You’ll have the option to sign up with Google, your Apple ID (if you’re using Mac or iOS), your email, or phone number.  

Twitter will prompt you to enter your name, phone number or email, and date of birth. You’ll be prompted to select a username and profile picture. 

If possible, use the same username you use on all other platforms. You’ll also want to make sure that you upload the same logo as your icon that you use on all other social platforms. 

Next, you’ll get a verification code via email or phone. Once you’ve verified your contact information and logged in, Twitter will ask you to select topics and profiles that interest you. 

How to Optimise Your Twitter Profile 

From here, you can optimise your profile. You’ll want to make sure your profile is public so that followers can find and follow you without a hassle. 

Here’s how you check your privacy settings. First, tap the More button (three dots). 

Next, click Settings and Privacy.

From there, select Privacy and Safety.

Select Audience and Tagging.

Finally, you’ll see an option to protect your Tweets. Make sure the box by “Protect my Tweets” is not checked

Great! Now your profile is public, visible, and searchable. 

Creating a Strong Twitter Bio

To craft a great Twitter bio, you’ll want to drill down to your brand voice immediately. You’re limited to 160 characters in your bio, so you’ll want to make every word count. 

Your Twitter bio should sum up what your business is all about and who it’s for in as few words as possible. Keep the main idea front and center. 

For example, Hootsuite has an excellent and effective Twitter bio. It tells you exactly what they offer (“Social media tools, tips, news, and a shoulder to cry on”) and who they’re for (“social pros”), while demonstrating lonstanding brand authority (“since 2008”). 

Include important search terms or branded hashtags in your bio as appropriate. You’ve got the option of displaying your location and related usernames (note that Hootsuite has a separate Help account). 

Don’t neglect to include a link to your website in your bio. There’s a field for your website URL, but you can also embed a short URL in your bio text if you like. 

Developing a Small Business Twitter Marketing Strategy 

When developing a small business Twitter marketing strategy, there are some important things to keep in mind. 

You need to make sure you’re sharing an interesting mix of content that keeps your audience engaged. This includes brand-specific content, curated shares that are relevant to your brand, and timely Tweets about current events. 

As you creat your strategy, you need to consider: 

  • How to expand your reach, both in terms of discoverability (people finding you) and visibility (putting yourself in front of others). You’ll want to make it super easy for users to find you, while consistently putting yourself out there.
  • Creating interesting content that gets people sharing, engaging, and following. 
  • Building brand awareness so people really get to know your brand. 

Reach-Focused Strategies for Twitter 

Building and increasing your reach on Twitter means you’re going to be focused on how many accounts your content reaches. It’s all about how visible you are on the platform. 

Here are a few ideas for boosting your Twitter reach: 

  • Use hashtags and participate in trending topics on a regular basis to increase visibility. 
  • Participate in and run retweet contests. 
  • Include content and hashtags with search-friendliness in mind (meaning, you want to make sure you’re using hashtags and conten that users are likely to search for).
  • Strategically engaging with other users and brands on the platform via relevant Tweets. 

Keep in mind that you can boost your reach and go viral with the wrong kind of content. This will likely go against your brand rather than helping it, so be aware of what you’re engaging with on the platform. 

Engagement & Content Strategies for Twitter 

Boosting your engagement on Twitter means getting your audience to like, reply, and retweet your Tweets. Starting and continuing impactful conversations is a great way to make this happen.

In terms of your content, there are multiple ways you can help your brand stand out: 

  • Offer value through your resources, whether that’s a blog, podcast, or vlog.
  • Keep outbound link sharing to a minimum, except when citing sources or sharing an occasional resource. Sharing your valuable content and insights on-platform works better.
  • Share other people’s content with your own take in a line or two of text; this is a great engagement-boosting move. 
  • Use Twitter threads to keep conversations contained in one spot. Disruptive Digital’s Maurice Rahmey does an excellent job of this (pictured below). Take a look at the full thread here.
  • Ask for people’s opinions. Make sure ot keep your questions relevant enough to your brand and usual communications that you don’t throw your audience off. 

Brand Awareness Strategies for Twitter 

Creating more brand awareness on Twitter can help your business gain more followers and traction. Here are a few tactics you can put into place to grow brand awareness: 

  • Create and stick to a specific brand voice. You want your audience to instantly recognise your brand by its voice and know what to expect each time they interact with you.  
  • Be consistent with your post frequency. The rhythm you set on any social media platform sets your audience’s expectations. 
  • Consider hosting a weekly or monthly chat that will build your credibility and offer value, bringing people back to your Twitter presence regularly. 
  • Prove that you know your worth through the quality of your content and your interactions. 
  • Connect with other brands and influencers whose content you can share, and who you can parter with on collaborations. 

What About Twitter Ads for Small Businesses? 

Running Twitter Ads for your small business could be a great option if you’re looking to increase your following. Purchasing paid ads could potentially help you grow your Twitter audience more rapidly than organic reach alone. 

Twitter Ads boast a fast reach and have a relatively low cost per click, compared to other social media platforms. They’re a solid option for small businesses and startups looking to grow their following or promote specific pieces of content fast. 

Even though Twitter isn’t at the top of the list of social platforms in general, it’s actually the top social media app for discovering new brands, services, products, and media. According to Twitter’s data, compared to other social media platforms, users on Twitter spend roughly 26% longer viewing ads. 

What’s more, 53% of Twitter users are more likely to try a new product first. That’s great news for startups and small businesses.

With Twitter ads, you can: 

  • Quickly boost your brand awareness, getting your business in front of more people and helping them remember your brand when they encounter it again
  • Build consideration, grow trust, and drive brand loyalty 
  • Share your service or product with a broader audience, promoting conversions and driving sales

You can target your ads on Twitter by specific conversations, by followers, or by specific events they may be interested in. Once you’ve set up your campaign, you can use the robust Twitter Analytics dashboard to keep track of your ads’ performance. 

Whether you pay for Twitter Ads long-term, they’re definitely worth learning. Test a few variations to see what works best for you. 

If you need help getting started with Twitter Ads, our Twitter Marketing Short Course can help you get up and running. 

4 Great Examples of Brands Rocking Twitter Marketing 

Twitter is well-known for its pithy style and casual community. It’s not for everyone, but you’ll notice that a wide range of different businesses use it well. Let’s take a look at a few. 

1. Wendy’s 

From its snarky humor to its Tweet wars with rival fast food chains, Wendy’s has mastered the art of Twitter. Without fail, Wendy’s maintains a consistent, entertaining brand voice across all its social platforms. 

You’ll notice that the brand doesn’t just Tweet on a regular basis. It’s also highly engaged with its followers. 

Jump into the comments section below any of its Tweets, and you’ll see that Wendy’s is particularly adept at keeping a conversation going long after the initial post. 

2. Semrush 

Semrush is another brand that’s absolutely rocking the Twitter marketing game. This brands gives tremendous value to its followers through educational Tweets. 

Not only is Semrush amazing at sharing helpful tips through images, infographics, and articles. It’s also great at pointing specific user demographics toward the solutions that work best for them. 

For example, in the thread below, you’ll see that Semrush is pointing agencies directly toward a tool they can use to simplify the bidding process. 

3. Smithsonian Museums 

Smithsonian leverages its Twitter presence to share a wide range of educational information gleaned from its family of 21 museums. Visit its Twitter feed and you’ll see images of museum artifacts and compelling stories from science, history, and culture.

Smithsonian curates and shares content from other relevant museums, institutions, and organisations that share its goals to preserve history and educate the next generation. 

4. Hootsuite 

Hootsuite’s Twitter feed features tips, tools, and information to keep social media marketers up to speed with the latest trends. 

The brand shares actionable tips marketers can put to work immediately. It also helps its followers keep their finger on the pulse of ever-changing social media news so they can stay up to date. 

Final Thoughts 

Twitter for startups and small businesses is an effective and powerful tool to help you grow your online following. The platform is versatile and you can build a loyal following over time if you keep your brand voice consistent and jump into relevant, timely discussions. 

With its combination of real-time interaction, plus its effective and affordable ads, this is a platform conversational brands shouldn’t miss out on. If you’re a highly engaged brand that values ongoing communication with your audience, Twitter is where you want to be. 

If you need an extra assist getting your Twitter presence off the ground, SMC can help. Our Twitter Marketing Short Course is a way to quickly level up your Twitter marketing game. 

When you enrol in this self-paced course, you’ll learn from some of the best Twitter experts in the industry. They’ll show you how to boost your reach, build an engaged Twitter presence, leverage Twitter Analytics, and optimise your content.

Ready to learn some top strategies to help you start strong on Twitter? Check out our Twitter Marketing Course.

About the author 

Jonathon Tanner

Jonathon Tanner is the Co-CEO of Social Media College, Australia's leading educator and trainer for social media.

He co-authored the Diploma of Social Media Marketing, the world's first and only Australian Government recognised course in social media marketing, delivered by 25 leading colleges and TAFEs across Australia, and articulating into several Bachelor programs at Australian Universities.

His deep expertise in social media spans content marketing, social media strategy, 15 different social media networks, paid social advertising, personal branding, email marketing, and social media conversion.

Jonathon has also co-founded several other businesses, as well as spending 12 years as a management consultant specialising in mergers & acquisitions for private equity firms, growth strategy, and operational improvement.

Jonathon holds a combined Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney.

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